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Unpacking Hickory Tar Heel 250

At this point in the season, Casey Roderick has finished every lap this season.  He’s been second in two of the last three races.  Overall he has four podium finishes.  He has a solid point lead with these numbers, but Roderick knows that he needs a notch in the W column on the stat sheet. Roderick came from 16th to finish second at Hickory, which was a big improvement from last year. 

It was a story of coming from the back for Connor Okrzesik as he started 25th and finished ninth in the final rundown. While Okresik is getting back to form in a Super Late Model he’s now scored back-to-back top 10 runs in the series.  He was second in points in 2019 and has two wins under his belt. 

It was another strong run for Matt Craig who led laps at Hickory and finished fourth.  Craig calls the Hickory race his home race as he lives just an hour away in the Concord Kannapolis area. Last season Craig had only one top-five run in the Southern Super Series.  This year Craig has four top five runs in the last five races. 

Dawson Sutton comes home third for the second race in a row.  Sutton now has three top-five runs this season in six events.  He’s knocking on the door for that first win in his first full season of Super Late Model racing. 

It sure has been a strange season for Stephen Nasse, who has run well in almost every event.  Nasse posted a seventh-place run and will be excited for the next race at Five Flags because he’s been first and second in the two races there this season. 

It was certainly not the results we would expect from Bubba Pollard, but a sixth-place run and a finish in his second event out with Elrod Motorsports shows signs of progress.  The car had been rebuilt from a tangle in their first race at Mobile a few weeks back.  

As Brent Crews won the award for setting fast time at the Hickory race it marked the seventh different pole winner of the year and the 13th consecutive race with at least a different pole winner. There has not been a repeat pole winner in a season since 2022. 

Cole Butcher becomes only the third driver to win back-to-back races since 2016 in the Southern Super Series. He was the first to do it in the ASA STARS National tour with this win.  Bubba Pollard and Stephen Nasse were the others. Butcher has now led five races this season for a total of 195 laps. He has led eight total races in his Southern Super Series career.   

We saw a few drivers have near misses on victories.  Brent Crews led 160 laps and was battling with the leaders when he got into the wall coming off turn two.  We also saw former Southern Super Series winner Chase Elliott run very strong in the early part of the race.  An overheated engine cost him a shot to run for the win. 

While ASA STARS National Tour heads north June 14th & 16th for a huge weekend Doubleheader in Wisconsin, it will now be several weeks before the ASA Southern Super Series returns to Five Flags Speedway to run the third leg of the Blizzard Series on June 29th.  The final four races of the season will be contested with one event in each of the next four months.  This is done in part to help several teams run the ASA STARS National Tour.

Dan Vining Photo

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